Monday, March 23, 2009

Tabitha Begins

We are beginning a girls discipleship group called Tabitha, and we had our first official night tonight! Love the girls, and am so excited for what God has in store for this!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

God Box

I am ashamed to admit this, especially where others can read, but I have kept God in a box. I have known my God to be an Awesome God, and am so often left in amazement of who I understand Him to be, but in my arrogance I have boxed Him into the realm of my own understanding! As I was reading "Heavenly Man" recently and considering all the incredible God experiences this man shares, I found myself skeptical of those things in his stories that fell outside my own experience, or understanding of how God works. As, I read on I sensed God speaking to my heart, challenging me to break down the walls of this box I have been building for so long! I found myself almost affraid of what I might find outside this box of mine, I mean it wasn't as though I was not willing to expand a bit, give Him some more space to move around, but to completely tear down these walls? It seemed risky, dangerous even, and I was faced with a painful truth..."my god" is too small! I had given myself to God to the point where it seemed "safe", where I could experience His blessings, and admire His awesomeness, but to give everything, all that I am, drop it all and follow Him, no matter what the cost, to obey even if I don't understand, if it falls outside all my previous "experiences" of God? Am I willing to break my God box, face whats outside these walls?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Not just to Serve but to Know

I finished "The Heavenly Man" this morning and I have to say having now read the entire book I recommend it to anyone wanting to be shaken in our "western comfort". I am still processing so much of what I read, and am feeling, but I know I have come from this book with a strong desire to know God at a deeper level. I realize even more how much I NEED a faithful prayer life, time in His Word each and every day, and how CRITICAL it is for me to hide God's Word in my heart!!
After everything this man suffers in Jesus' name he has this to say, "The people who really suffer are those who never experience God's presence." The most amazing thing to me about this book, is that you don't come out praising the name of brother Yun, amazed by what kind of man he was (though I will forever carry a deep love and respect for all he gave to further the Gospel), but rather you come out realizing how AMAZING I did not realize my God is! How often I box Him into my own experiences, or teachings, when not even the most insanely large box I could create in my expansive imagination could even begin to hold my God!!
This is what I want to know...I want to know God outside my box!
"I began to understand that He had a deeper purpose for me than just working for Him. He wanted to know me, and I to know Him, deeply and intimately!"

PS the book is The Heavenly Man (the remarkable true story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun) with Paul Hattaway

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Joseph and that Techno Colored Dream Coat...or something like that

So, I found out I was going to be filling in for one of our leaders tonight doing the speaking for Fushion, and I was handed his notes on the story of Joseph. I began looking them over, and memories began to flood back of little parts of the story I had heard in the past. Suddenly I had this overwhelming desire to take a look into Joseph's life all the way back to when his mom met his dad... I never realized how "R" rated this story really is, I mean seriously, there's murder, rape, incest, not to mention all the times Jacob "went in" to all four wives making babies faster than bunnies on steriods! By the end of my read, which was only to the point where the brothers sold Joseph into slavery, it had read very much like a soap opera/thriller.
A ton of things stuck out to me, little things I did not even remember ever knowing about the story of Joseph, but what spoke to my heart more than anything else was God's working in the chaos. I mean this was the epitomy of a disfuntional family life, and here wa God laying the groundwork for some amazing things later on... That's was my read today in the Word! It was so fun sharing with the teens even if I did have to "filter" some of the story to make it a bit more "PG".

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Heavenly Man

I have been reading "The Heavenly Man" recently, and its been a tough read for me. I have really been having a tough time, feeling very much in an "emotional blah" and struggling with not getting the things done I should be. Here is this man, suffering the most horrific persecution, not once denying His Savior, and using each opportunity to share God's love. How is it that in a country where I am able to worship freely, and have multiple Bibles in my home, my car, and in most of my bags that are just lying around, that I am not on my knees every day praising God for His Word He has so freely given me!!! I have felt so much shame as I have read, and eve fear at times I have considered what the future holds for me as a believer, if things weren't as free as they are now, and I ever had to face even a small portion of what Brother Yun faced.
So much for me to think about right now, and think through where my mind spends most of its time, and where I am really investing my time and energy...what things I have been procrastinating that should be on top of my list...whats keeping me on my feet and off my knees now, when I know more than ever before in my life that prayer is my most powerful weapon!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Prince Charming...

I had an eye openning weekend last weekend to just how lazy I had become as a wife! I won't get into th details of that, but just know I was not on the right track! As a result I have been spending a lot of time this week thinking about my marriage, my husband, how to grow as a wife... All this thinking about Andy, and who he is I was reminded of something pretty amazing...My husband is the bomb! Take this good looking guy, who is incredibely gifted as worship leader, works full time as a youth pastor, and invests so much in so many lives around him, and then add to that amazing balance he is for me with his gift of organization, and wisdom, not to mention what a GREAT dad he is to Josiah and Mercy...add it all up and I got myself the Real Prince Charming!! Thank You God for blessing me with Andy!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Week One Thoughts...

This past weekend I began a fast from TV and Facebook to see what kind of difference I noticed in my daily life! At first it was tough, not gonna lie. I would get home from work, and wonder what I should do first since that was my normal facebook/unwind time, and then at night once the kids were in bed and I was feeling exhausted and braindead to not have the tv to glue myself to. However after only one week, I have observed some amazing things! I actually feel closer to my kids! Instead of spending a half hour or hour on the internet when we get home late morning I found myself hanging with them, and reading books, having conversations, and sitting down for lunch with them instead of putting them in front of the tv so I could "relax". At night, when I would normally crash on the couch in front of American Idol, or a recorded episode of House, I found myseld reading, catching up on housework, preparing myself for the things I needed to do the next day, spending time with Andy, and even getting some extra needed rest at night!
After only a week in, though there are moments I want so badly to just turn on the tv and veg out, or click on facebook and see what the world has been up to, I am realizing just how much I have been missing out on! So, I have decided this is going to continue a while longer (like 30 more days or so), and when I do decide to bring it back I want a healthy plan to limit my use of all my media toys!
PS Best discovery of the kids are really fun to hang out with!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Abba's Love

I was talking to Josiah recently about how "We love because He first loved us". I must confess, though the moment was precious, the words themselves were more my reciting words from memory than from my heart! This morning God gave me an interesting glimpse into this thought...
I was dropping Siah off at school when he decided to throw quite a tantrum over a very little thing, and to make a long story short we went from disappointment (we as in Josiah that is), to a digging in stubborn heals refusing to acknowledge the sin. I must add to this, I really struggle with patience with my children, and far to often lose my temper when they are not cooperating, however by the grace of God, this morning was different.
I won't describe the entire story, or conversation Josiah and I ended up having up in his room later, but I will say that I came out realizing that I loved Josiah through a very tough morning, not because I am some kind of amazing loving mom, but because God first loved me! What an amazing love our Father bestows upon us, that we should be called His children!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We have not been Given a Spirit of Fear...

I am in the midst of reading this book, "Do Hard Things" by Alex and Brett Harris. I began reading it to see if was something our teens might benefit from, and have already been so challenged in my own life! They talk about, living not your easiest life, but your best life that God has for you, and what obstacles to that might be!
One of the things that stuck out to me this morning in my read is to do the things that are outside your comfort zone... How often I jump at the chance to do things I know I am good at, or things that there is little to no risk that I will make a fool of myself or come out looking dumb. The idea of stepping out of my little comfortable "fenced area", and trying things that I am not the best at, or taking huge risks in doing things that I could very well, fail at! In almost every instance I could think of, this "fence" I had built up was built out of fear! Fear of failure, of exposure (I am not as great as some might think...also a ton of pride built in to this one), fear of looking stupid...just plain fear! 2Timothy 1:7 is pretty clear"God has not given us a spirit of fear"..
So what is fear really? They say it well in this book: Fear is well concealed lies! Here I have been , again, believing lies I did not even realize were lies! The truth:
God works through my weaknesses to accomplish His will!
I am not called to be successful all the time I am called to be faithful and leave the result up to God!
All efforts, even failed ones produce growth!
So its time to start tearing down my picket fence, and take some risks! As I was reminded this morning, doing things outside my comfort zone, can pull me out of complacency and spark radical growth!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Being Intentional

I want every moment to count, every second of my life to bring Him more Glory, and I know that if I am gonna do it, give it all up, die to self there are things that need to go! I love tv, but far too often I use tv as something to shut down my mind, and make it easy to not think deep, or be intentional about focusing my thoughts on God! Being intentional is something I struggle with across the board, honestly. Auto Pilot is such a dangerous place..I think about Romans 7, "What I want to do I don't do, and what I dont want to do I do..." thats me, when I stop being intentional about my faith, I begin flirting with the devil. So, I have decided its time to fast from tv, and replace that with intentional time in the Word, reading, praying focusing my thoughts!
Also Facebook..I love facebook, and think it has been the best invention ever for people like me who have moved around, and love to keep in touch with old friends, however, I find myself wasting soooooo much time following other people's lives. This is a tough one, but I am taking a month completely off!
What will I do with all this extra time? Pop this puppy out of auto pilot, and hand over the controls to the One who should have had them all along!! Its time to make each moment count!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mini Van

For those who have made fun of me for going to a mini van before I was even 25 years old...Guess whose AMAZING mini van Third Day is going to ride around in this next weekend while they are doing a show in the area...thats right! I am gonna have to get a shot of this at some point during the weekend:)!